Kids in China Are Less Anxious, More Careful With Their Money, and Have More IRL Friends
What is life like for kids in China today – and how do they compare to their global peers?
A recent study spanning almost 6,000 kids aged 6-11 and their parents in 31 countries gave us an opportunity to better understand Chinese kids in a global context. Here are some key insights from this analysis:
They’re less likely to have siblings and more likely to have parents who consider them best friends. Owing to China’s one-child policy, which the country has recently begun to phase out, just 22% of Chinese kids aged 6 to 11 have siblings – much lower than the global average of 64%. Chinese parents are close with their kids and significantly more likely than their global peers to see their kids as best friends (87% of Chinese parents of kids aged 6 to 11 vs. 74% of global parents). And in China, dads are involved. Over 9 out of 10 parents expect fathers to participate as much in childrearing as mothers.
Chinese kids’ greatest sources of inspiration are their parents, teachers and close friends. Chinese kids 6 to 8 years old admire their teachers (83%) as much as their parents (85% dad, 83% mom), followed by their grandparents (62%) and best friends (43%). For kids aged 9 to 11, parents are still number one (77% dad, 74% mom) but they look up to best friends (64%) more than teachers (58%).
They have cash and spend it carefully. When needed, they negotiate with Mom and Dad. Kids in China are more likely to have their own money (85% China, 75% global), and to use discounts (72% China, 62% global). When there’s something they really want, they’re 34% more likely than kids globally to make a presentation, video, picture/drawing, or report to ask for it.
Like kids everywhere, they have a “maker mentality” when it comes to tech. In China and globally, 9 out of 10 kids say they build new skills in their free time and 3 out of 4 think coding is cool. Among Chinese kids 6 to 11, 57% say they’ve taken a tech class at school. The most common skill they’ve learned is photo editing (45%), followed by Excel (28%) and PowerPoint (25%).
They’re less anxious about their parents’ well-being, money, and bullying. Compared with their global peers, Chinese kids are 36% less likely to worry about their parents’ health and safety and 32% less likely to worry about their parents losing their jobs. They are also 19% less likely to worry about not having enough money. They also are less concerned about negative social interactions – 30% less likely to worry about getting bullied and 27% less likely to worry about being left out by peers. But like kids around the world, their main concerns are homework, living up to their potential, and maintaining access to the internet.
Socially, they have more IRL friends and particularly value intelligence and inclusiveness. Chinese kids average twice as many best friends as their global peers (10 in China vs. 5 globally). However, the opposite dynamic is true in social media, where Chinese kids average fewer followers (161 in China vs. 263 globally). When it comes to fitting in at school, being smart is more of an asset (45% China, 34% globally) than being funny (30% China, 47% globally). But everyone is welcome in their world, with 89% describing themselves as tolerant (vs. 79% globally).